Lest’s face up to it – the West is simply the best!

Written by Nick Spearing

Before you read too much into the headline of this article, I would just like to clarify that this isn’t some Western regime propaganda message.

Before you read too much into the headline of this article, I would just like to clarify that this isn’t some Western regime propaganda message. I won’t be spouting on about the ‘positives’ of living in the Western World, so if that’s what you are after, you’ve come to the wrong place. Rather than referring to the west as the western world, I meant west of Britain, across the pond… The USA.

I am patriotic, so what area of life would I think that our American cousins are better than we Brits?

I don’t know any other way of saying this, so I’m just going to put it simply… British produced television is terrible compared to that produced in the US.

I have always been a bigger fan of television than film. I don’t know why, but I have always found myself getting drawn into the worlds created in a TV series than I have those worlds created on the big screen. Despite having to deal with the endless cliffhangers, the annoying advert breaks and the week long wait between episodes, I just love television.

However, I had one of those moments this week where I realised: ‘all the television I watch (and get addicted to) is made in the US.’ I had this revelation after finding myself yet another TV series to become addicted to. Beth (my fellow pedant) introduced me to The West Wing, a US drama series following the political dealings during the fictional administration of Josiah Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen. After watching just three episodes, I have to force myself not to continue and breeze through the entire first season.

This is by no means an isolated incident. Ever since the age of about 12, I have found myself addicted to American television. It began with the action series 24. After my parents bought the box set for the first series… I never looked back. From that day on, I have coasted through season after season of top American television drama. From the antics on ‘the island’ in Lost, to the medical mysteries of Dr House, I can just watch it all day long.

But for many reasons, I have never been gripped in the same way by a TV series produced in Britain.

My main issue with TV made in Britain is the length of the series. Due to what must be budget restraints, the BBC (which is supposed to provide entertainment using ‘our money’) only ever produces a maximum six episode series. It is ever so frustrating. You just start to get into the drama of the series, then BAM! It ends. However, it isn’t just that the series are short. I just don’t get gripped in the same way. After four series or so, they just seem repetitive. I’m using BBC’s Spooks as my prime example here. After four series, I became bored with the tedious repetitive nature of each episode. And if you think about it, that isn’t much more air time than one series of something like House.

However, the Beeb can’t be held 100% responsible for the poor quality television drama produced in Britain. Similarly to the huge US companies, Britain has the likes of Sky, Channel 4 and ITV who are all financially capable of producing top quality television, but something goes wrong in the pursuit for it. Sky have cleverly realised the biggest market is bringing over the top American shows in order to gain the highest advertising revenues and top viewerships. Channel 4 seems to have a huge focus on comedy and trivial shows, with comedy drama Shameless being the only long running British show I can think of being aired long term on 4.

It is the trivial nature of some Channel 4 and ITV shows that really gets to me. How can America get amazing television like The West Wing and House, when we Brits are left with Desperate Scousewives and The Only Way is Essex? Come on TV producers of the future, give us a break. Let us have some decent TV dramas so we’re not left waiting for years for new US series’.